1. Tell us about yourself/how did you start your brand (Do you guys remember the first time you met at DAAP?)
We both transferred into DAAP after both attending other schools for our freshman year of college. We never met during our foundations year at DAAP but on the first day of Todd Timney's class sophomore year he put us in the same group for some sort of type study activity and we've been best friends ever since! After graduation we both pursued different paths. Brittney worked for a year at LPK and Suzy worked at Voyageur Outward Bound School instructing canoeing. In school we always talked and dreamed about opening a cute shop together and it looks like we manifested it! We're both not afraid to take risks and we both knew we had to be our own bosses. Handzy Shop + Studio was born out of that and a lot of hard work.
2. If you could go back and relive any memory of DAAP, what would it be?
If we could relive any DAAP memory it would be our first summer quarter in school. We were all new friends and the weather was warm! We would all go to Burnet Woods after class and have cookouts, or gather our classmates up to go canoeing. It's so much fun being around your friends all the time and going through the same things together. DAAP classmates share a unique bond! In some way we still relive that as we've continued to work together. At our old studio in Brighton we had beach chairs on our roof for some break time sun soaking! We are definitely into the summer at Handzy.
3. If you could go to dinner with any designer/artist, who would it be and why?
One thing about having a storefront that we've absolutely loved is that we've gotten to meet so many local artists and designers! Being a part of the Covington/Cincinnati design and art community is a huge part of owning a design and art focused shop. Just yesterday we went to lunch with some local designers; James Billiter, Nicholas Moegly and Jessica Jones to chat business and design. It's important for everyone to work together and support each other! We really look up to anyone and everyone who is out there trying to do or make something of their own.
4. What is something you're super excited about for the future of Handzy?
For us, the future of Handzy feels limitless! In the upcoming year we are shifting our focus a bit to launching an online store. Shopkeeping issomething we both really enjoy and the idea of having to keep track of all kinds of inventory and fulfill orders sounds like a blast to us! We are both very detail oriented. Also, we are starting to advertise and focus on our invitation design services. What could be better than using design for fun and to bring people together!?
5. Do you have any advice/words of encouragement for people who want to start their own businesses in design?
Honestly, we're still not sure we even know what we are doing most days. One thing we did that has been a game changer in starting our own business was get a free business mentor through the SCORE (score.org) program. Our business mentor has helped us through tons of things we previously had no knowledge of ... like taxes. We have both been great from the start at admitting when there is something we don't know and just asking for help. Ask, ask and ask some more. You'd be surprised what you can get done and accomplish if you rid fear from the asking process. What's the harm in an email anyways?
6. What do you love most about the maker community?
The maker community it such a supportive space to be in! We love it and we have felt nothing but love back from all of the makers we have connected to in our time of owning a business. The creative community in Covington is what really drew us to re-locating here when we decided it was time to open our storefront. It's a little smaller than Cincinnati and we feel like we really know our creative neighbors! We're in good company with Durham Brand & Co., Madison Design and BLDG basically all on our block! We've also met all kinds of people through community events here such as Covington Creates and CBC (Covington Business Council) Connects.
7. What are some things you guys like to do to get inspired?
One thing that really inspires us is going to Target, even if we just need paper towels for the studio. I know that might sound a bit silly but we love to get out of our shop sometimes and just go somewhere! We are often pretty busy managing all of the business aspects of having a shop and studio (emails, accounting, ... you know) that we feel like we have little time to create. We always feel more inspired when we set aside time just to randomly paint and make. Coming up with messages to write on cards is honestly really hard. One of our good friends from DAAP is really funny so sometimes we ask him what he would say for the occasion we are trying to make a card for haha! We both focused on print design in school so having physical, visual inspiration such as books or magazines really helps us. We create and present physical, pictures on an actual plywood board, mood boards to all of our graphic design clients! Keeping that physical board around our studio keeps us in that space when we are designing for our clients.